Reports: Cavaliers, Beilein splitting after just 54 games
CLEVELAND (AP) – Cavaliers first-year coach John Beilein (BEE’-lyn) will end a rough season by stepping down after 54 games, according to multiple reports
Citing anonymous league sources, ESPN.com reported that Beilein is expected to say goodbye to staff and players Wednesday when they return from the All-Star break.
The 67-year-old former Michigan coach was a surprising hire by the Cavs last year because of his age and lack of any pro experience. Beilein signed a five-year contract – the final year was a club option – in May.
Cleveland is just 14-40 – the worst record in the Eastern Conference – and Beilein struggled to gain his players’ confidence or respect while the losses piled up.
Associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is expected to take over on an interim basis for Beilein. Bickerstaff coached in Memphis for nearly two full seasons before being fired last year. He was also Houston’s head coach in 2015-16.
Player discipline possible for future sign-stealing offenses
UNDATED (AP) – Major league players could be punished for future sign-stealing violations in the wake of the Houston Astros’ scandal that only resulted in discipline for managers, coaches and executives.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark both said Tuesday that MLB and the players’ association are discussing potential rules changes regarding sign stealing and technology.
No players were punished by MLB, and opponents from other teams have expressed dismay over that fact since spring training opened last week. Many have also called for Manfred to strip Houston of its 2017 World Series title.
Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were banned for one season by Manfred and subsequently fired by the team last month after MLB released the findings of its investigation into the Astros. Former bench coach Alex Cora is expected to be disciplined when baseball announces the results of its probe into the Boston Red Sox, who cut ties with Cora as manager due to his involvement with Houston’s illegal sign stealing in 2017 and 2018.
Carlos Beltran, the only Astros player mentioned in the MLB report, was not disciplined by the league but was let go in his new role as New York Mets manager.
TOKYO OLYMPICS-CHINA OUTBREAK
Virologist: Tokyo Olympics probably couldn’t be held now
TOKYO (AP) – A respected Japanese virologist said Wednesday that if the Tokyo Olympics were tomorrow, the games probably couldn’t be held because of the fast-spreading virus from Wuhan, China.
Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani said, speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, said, “Right now we don’t have an effective strategy, and I think it may be difficult to have the Olympics. But by the end of July we may be in a different situation.”
The local Tokyo Olympic organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said over the last few weeks that they are following the advice of the World Health Organization and that the games will go on.
But with every passing day, the impact of the virus seems to spread, and so does the fallout: Olympic qualifying events are canceled or postponed, travel gets difficult, and athletes and families are left wondering. Not to mention sponsors and broadcasting networks that have invested billions of dollars in the Olympics.
The modern Olympics dating from 1896 have only been canceled during wartime.